This is it. The "halfway" point of the season, even though every team has played more than half its games. No more hockey this month. No more hockey for almost a WEEK. Real hockey, anyway. DEAR GOD I'M ALREADY GOING INTO WITHDRAWAL.
Ahem. I'm better now. To the results!
O Captain, my Captain
Eric Staal is going into the All-Star break in his home arena in style.
The Carolina captain scored twice and set up a third goal as the Hurricanes doubled up the Islanders, 4-2. His two goals came in a span of 1:28 and put Carolina ahead 3-1 in the second period. Erik Cole had two helpers and Zach Boychuk and Brandon Sutter also scored. Cam Ward made 23 saves.
Michael Grabner and Andrew MacDonald both had a goal and assist for New York.
Thomas gives up goal, wins anyway
I told you before, it's almost news when Tim Thomas doesn't get a shutout.
This time he let Bryan freaking Allen beat him but Thomas still made 34 saves to lead Boston over Florida, 2-1. Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins.
Changing of the times
It wasn't that long ago - uh, last season - when Washington owned the Southeast Division. That's not the case this year.
For the second time this season, Ondrej Pavelec blanked Washington, making 36 saves in a 1-0 victory. Nik Antropov scored the only goal. The Thrashers went 4-1-1 against the Capitals this season. Atlanta ended a streak of 1-4-3.
One game after giving up seven goals, Kari Lehtonen stopped 34 of 35 shots and Brenden Morrow scored twice to lead Dallas over Edmonton, 3-1. Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Langenbrunner both had two assists and Adam Burish also scored for the Stars. Dustin Penner scored for the Oilers.
Getting more but not enough
Colorado registered just one shot on goal in the third period before rebounding to finish with 31. Yet Ilya Bryzgalov fended off 29 of those and two third-period goals sealed Phoenix's 5-2 victory. Eric Belanger scored twice and Keith Yandle had a goal and assist.
Been a while
For the first time in nearly three weeks, New Jersey failed to earn a point from a game. That was after a disallowed goal and two strikes by Detroit in the third period helped give the Red Wings a 3-1 win. The Devils had won four in a row and were 6-0-1 in their last seven. Jimmy Howard made 23 saves, Valtteri Filppula broke a 1-1 tie and Johan Franzen's goal in the final minute sealed the win.
A rolling Moss gathers no stone
Er, a rolling puck gathers no Moss? A rolling Moss scores two goals? I don't know. Regardless, David Moss scored a pair of power play goals plus assisted on Adam Pardy's goal and Calgary downed St. Louis, 4-1. Moss has 19 points on the strength of seven multi-point games, including three games with three points. He's scored a single point just twice with four two-point performances. Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves and Jarome Iginla scored into an empty net.
Shea Weber broke a scoreless tie early in the third period but two goals by Vancouver in 1:52 - by Alex Burrows and someone called Lee Sweatt - gave the Canucks a 2-1 win over Nashville. Roberto Luongo made 26 saves.
In the shootout
Jonathan Quick made 22 saves and Jarret Stoll had the only shootout goal as Los Angeles upended San Jose, 3-2.
--I'm sitting here hugging my knees to my chest, nervously biting my fingernails. What the hell am I supposed to do until next Tuesday? Talk with my family? Go outside? To hell with that.
--That was a pretty crucial win for Atlanta. The Thrashers would be out of the playoff picture if they had lost in regulation. Their footing still isn't safe as they've experienced a slide in January (4-4-3).
--Hey, remember when Tim Thomas was a washed up, overpaid has-been who Boston couldn't trade no matter what? Yeah, me neither.
--And Tuukka Rask was Boston's go-to goalie?
--How hot are the Flames now? Get it? Because... OK, I'll stop it on that note. (The answer is 10-3-3 since Dec. 23.)
May you all find suitable hockey-like substitutes to fill your needs over the next several days.